Medibank Private_private heal

Last financial year Medibank Private made a profit before tax of $380 million, four times as much as the year before.

Despite Medibanks recent history of delivering middle-ranking premium increases and cutting benefits on some low-cost packages, Senator Wong repeated Labors argument that keeping it in public hands puts downward pressure on premiums.

THE Gillard government has rejected fresh calls to sell the biggest health insurance fund, Medibank Private, instead upholding it as a continuing source of dividend income for the taxpayer.

It might be a sacred cow for some, but we need to honestly ask ourselves why government is in the space of being a private health insurance provider at all, and then honestly and openly ask ourselves what the cost-benefit of a sale would be to the public, he said.

JULIA GILLARD will use her first speech in the US to declare Australia has the strongest economy in the advanced world and to urge the US to be bold and optimistic in its battle to lift itself out of the economic mire.

THE Foreign Afirs Minister, Kevin Rudd, has become Australias champion political globetrotter, clocking up 83 days overseas in six months.

Medibank Private_private heal,The fund has paid the government nearly $400 million in dividends over the past 18 months. The independent MP Rob Oakeshott has declared it a natural candidate for sale.

THE Gillard governmprivate health fundsent is iling to sell its proposed carbon tax, with almost half the electorate saying they are against the idea, including a quarter of those who describe themselves as Labor voters.

She said that should Medibank be sold, its position as a source of revenue would be gone, which would have a negative impact on the budget. The sale proceeds would have no impact on the fiscal or underlying cash balances, as this would simply be converting an asset to cash, Senator Wong said. Any spending from sale proceeds would still hit the budget bottom line.

AUSTRALIANS spooked by the swine flu pandemic have driven a rise in the use of antibiotics in the past two years, undoing the work of health campaigns and prompting concerns about the rise of so-called superbugs.

THE Coalition is struggling to find clear backers for its Direct Action climate scheme, with another nominated supporter saying he was not offering a policy endorsement.

TWO top-selling diet products are the subject of an urgent recall after tests revealed they are highly toxic.

HAD Kevin Rudd still been prime minister, there is one item on the calendar in Washington this week which would have been uncomfortable for all concerned: the meeting with the US House of Representatives Speaker, John Boehner.

About half of registered Australians in Japan are safe and authorities are working to contact the rest, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

AS MANY as 70 asylum seekers were roaming Christmas Island last night after a riot and mass breakout from their overcrowded detention centre.

Police are reluctant to acknowledge just how much they rely on surveillance devices to catch crMedibank Private_private healiminals, writes Michael Duffy.

A ncy dress student party ended with a lesbian accusing a Christian of rape. Then came the skinny jeans defence, writes Les Kennedy.

Mr Oakeshotts spokesman said yesterday he had received responses for and against the comments he made on Friday.

But the sole shareholder of the fund, the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, said yesterday the government remains firmly committed to keeping Medibank Private in public hands.

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The Howard government passed legislation to allow the sale of Medibank before the 2007 election. That legislation has not been repealed.

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